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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Went for an evening stroll out to the bee hives with my husband. Have done this since receiving the nucs on April 19th. Usually don't dress for the occasion, just t-shirt and jeans. Tonight I had on a black tank top. Was just standing there watching a bunch of bees sitting on their front porch when suddenly I looked down and there was a honeybee steady trying to drill through my shirt, then there was another, and another. Thats when I decided it was time to run. My husband said he never saw me move quite so fast. Funny guy. As I ran I had to knock one out of my hair. By this time I'm freaked! Hes yelling at me, take off the shirt, take off the shirt! Not outside in public, even if it is way back in the woods. Just as I hit the door after trampeling through the patch of sunflower and borage seeds we just planted, she got me. Right on the neck. Owwww, that hurt. When my husband finally makes it back, he says,"Ya know I think they do have facial recognition". Like I said, funny guy. I haven't been stung since I was a little kid walking barefoot through front yard clover. LOOOONNNGG time ago. But seriously, do you think they came after me because I had on a black shirt?
Learned my lesson.:rolleyes:
 

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Remember as they grow they will start to become a little more defensive. They have brood and honey to protect now. They won't be the same gentle bees they were when you first installed the package. Now I'm not saying they will attack you every time you go around them but, they will be more defensive.
 

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I feel like they are... I work black gloves and they hated them (after they got stirred up pretty good with a tractor).

BUT, I watch JP Beeman on youtube (in my state) go through and do removals and swarm captures in a black shirt, no gear, and has a thick black beard.

So... though I don't wear black, I'm confused on the matter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for answering. I know I'm going to be a little leary now. Not scared exactly. The sting doesn't even hurt anymore. But I know I definitely won't wear black to visit the hive again. BTW, my husband had his big ole head right in the entrance of one of the hives. They didn't even fly out at him. Go figure!
 

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I believe: Black is an instinct trigger. Black Bears honey ,,,,:ws:
I wear black tee shirts all the time ( I hate them ) but I wear em. I have some of my bees in a small shed while I work them to build queens. I have been able to walk in and out all day.
 

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I wear a veil, short sleeved t-shirt of various colors including black, blue rubber gloves.
Sometimes I get popped, sometimes I do not.
I have wore a full body suit thats all white and still had bees pelting me like crazy.
Im sure there are multiple variables that determine behaviour on a given day and your black shirt just might have been one.
Try white and repeat...
 

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I put my hands over my face and gradually walk away. Usually once I get far enough away the bees will go back to the hive but not always. I think black does have an impact. I wear black shirts often and I know that I am better off suiting up in my white bee jacket and veil. Bee careful :)
 

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I have some black rimmed glasses they really don't like. :)

I helped a guy with his first install the other day and they were not to fond of his cologne.
 

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As corny as this may sound, I start my mornings with my face within 16 inches of a hive opening every day. I wake up, enjoy my coffee and watch. I always have different color shirts and pants on. Today it was a bright red shirt and black pants. I had many bees land on my shirt (and on my knee) panting like crazy as the rest up from their long flight home.

I seldom get stung. Sometimes they drill themselves into my hair and I know it's coming, but that has nothing to do with color.

How often do you make this trek to your bee yard? I read a post one time about someone that placed hives in the middle of field with very little human interaction. When they got close, they got stung. The bees were not used to having someone nearby.

I'm not sure that color is a huge factor in drawing the ire of bees.
These are not bulls.
 

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Well I have two observations. I carry a five gallon bucket with me during visits to the hives that has a tool carrying devise in it. I had a 4 inch magnifying glass with a black velure cover in the side pocket of the bucket. The bees never bothered me but were all over that black velure cover trying to do their best to sting it to death. I leave the case behind now. The next one was a little more painfull. I was using a recording app on a cell to help get my notes correct later. It has a black shock proof case. I had it in the chest pocket of my bee suit unzippered and I was on my way back to the truck. I thought " I should shut off the recording now",and reached into my pocket. I must have taken half a dozen stings before I was able get my glove back on. Finger sausages for a few days. Could be coincidence, but I respect the theory.
 

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This is just my opinion, so take it for what it's worth. I think if you wear dark colors the bees take you for a predator, such as a bear. I think white may confuse them as to what you are, for awhile anyway. I worked my bees for a time wearing a blue denim jacket, thinking it was nice and thick and could prevent stings. When I switched back to white, I had fewer stings and less of the aggressive bumping into me. I don't know if a polar bear ever raided a hive.

Of more importance is probably odor. Bees of course rely greatly on odor. They are attracted to some smells and dislike others. Perfumes, deodorants and such probably trump clothing color.
 

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I was all around my bees in a black shirt this weekend without a veil for a long while with no incident... but I was behind the hives. I was quite aware that I was wearing black and was cautious because of this link:). I did put on my bee suit when I was looking for queen cells and stuff but I didn't make any major changes to the hives. I even dropped a shallow box when two were stuck together and I thought I could get away with only holding the top box but sure enough the bottom box came unglued. Anway the bees were very non aggressive this weekend. It was different than two weeks ago when they were following me around and stuff. The flow being on is surely helping their mood.

The times when I notice that the bees are extra defensive is when I have opened up like 10 hives in close proximity with one another. A sting here and there to the glove adds up and by the end there is enough sting smell to have the bees irritated and bees mixing from different colonies I think amplifies the bees desire to defend their hives. My point is that I still think black makes a difference but wearing black I think matters most when the bees are needing to be defensive for some reason. I mostly have been approached by bees like you described if the bees can see me from the front of the hive. If you stand behind them it might help. The mentioning of colognes and stuff definitely makes a difference too. When I was working bees last summer I made a practice of washing my mouth out with scope before and sometimes in the middle of inspections. I think the mint smell helps compared to normal breath.:eek: I suppose having a peppermint in your mouth would work too. I also have noticed that my black video camera at times will trigger an attack from the bees so that gives credibility to the black being a trigger. They don't always attack it but it has happened a few times. It could be the smell of the camera or some other factor but I'm going with the dark color if I had to guess.
 
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